April 5, 2017

My Website Got Hacked…& I Learned Some Important Lessons

my website got hacked

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is especially true when it comes to website maintenance. The “set it and forget it” mentality just doesn’t work and can result in more pain and expense down the line. We recently witnessed an old client’s site with many outdated plugins & themes get hacked on a Friday evening. The site totally disappeared, it was wiped out and down for days. Understandably the business owner was extremely upset as they missed out on traffic, leads, and revenue.

We managed to contact their hosting company to restore a prior version of the site but unfortunately because only infrequent backups were taken, many recent changes were lost.

Why did this happen? Like most software, websites require ongoing maintenance (this includes plugin updates, security updates, software updates, etc). We see a few required updates in the back end every month in all our WordPress sites. When you let them go for a while, the site breaks and becomes vulnerable to hacking, which is exactly what happened in this nightmare scenario. (The hackers got in through an outdated theme.)

Google recently revealed in its “State of Website Security” that website hacking increased by 32% in 2016, and that trend isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. Hackers are becoming increasingly aggressive and at the same time, more website owners are letting their CMS become out of date and vulnerable to security holes. Webmasters and site owners are encouraged to verify their sites in GSC to help prevent and fix website hacking. (61% of webmasters who were hacked never received a notification from Google that their site was infected because they weren’t verified in GSC!) We strongly encourage everyone to leverage Google’s infrastructure to tell you the health of your website. It’s easy and free.

We highly recommend all website owners get on a monthly maintenance plan to prevent issues like this from happening. Splendor can take care of all WordPress core system updates, Plugin updates, WordPress Security Patch updates, and Remote backups – it’s a smart way to stay secure and avoid costly fees down the line. Preventative maintenance can save you from serious headaches in the future! The hacking scenario described above could have been completely avoided if the site had been kept up to date and maintained. It’s a story worth sharing.

Ask us how we can help.

2018 UPDATE – Check out this comprehensive list of security steps for WordPress websites: https://www.cloudliving.com/wordpress-security

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